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Integrated Approach to Improving Performance of MPI Programs

The concept of “Beowulf” clusters, or cheap clusters formed by a network of workstations, increased dramatically the performance-over-price ratio in the high performance computing world. Nevertheless, many domain scientists and engineers using such clusters, have realized that the performance they can actually harness is only a fraction of what is available. Two reasons are mainly responsible for this effect. First, the level of complexity required for the communication of an application to be optimized for a particular cluster makes such optimizations out of reach for most non-expert systems programmers. At the same time the lack of portability experienced by applications tuned for specific cluster, led most domain scientists and engineers to follow high-level generic communication solutions in their applications. In this project we are trying to use compiler technology to automatically fine tune applications while preserving the simplicity experienced by the programmer.

Some of the research contributions have been:

  • Identify and evaluate transformations that can be applied to scientific applications in order to minimize communication overheads through communication-computation overlap.
  • Identify the performance metrics that characterize a cluster and develop a set of tools to actively probe them.
  • Develop a source-to-source optimizing system that can utilize the known information about a cluster and automatically apply the optimal transformations on scientific applications.
  • Develop a communication library that works in concert with the MPI library to increase communication-computation overlap in MPI programs.


ASPHaLT - Anthony Danalis, Lori Pollock, Martin Swany, and John Cavazos. “MPI-aware compiler optimizations for improving communication-computation overlap.” International Conference on Supercomputing (ICS'09), June 2009.

Gravel - Anthony Danalis, Aaron Brown, Lori Pollock, Martin Swany, and John Cavazos. “Gravel: A Communication Library to Fast Path MPI.” EuroPVM/MPI 2008, LNCS 5205, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 111–119. September 2008.


  • Faculty: Lori Pollock, Martin Swany
  • Ph.D. Students: Antonios Danalis
  • Undergraduates:
  • Collaborators: John Cavazos, University of Delaware
  • Past Undergraduate Students: Lewis Fishgold, Ki-Yong Kim, Aaron Brown
projects/asphalt.1247096122.txt.gz · Last modified: 2009/07/08 19:35 by pollock
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